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what's the best hp laptop to get for an engineering student?

blupoweradeblupowerade Posts: 256Registered User Junior Member
edited June 2010 in College Computers
what's the best hp laptop for an electrical engineering student? what's the best size laptop also? i really wanted a 17" but now i feel like that might be too big since a lot of people are just getting the 15". i want to be able to use photoshop without it being too slow and maybe play some light games (like combat arms).

is this hp any good?
Costco - $699.99 after $40 OFF HP dv6t Laptop Core i5-430M 2.26GHz Wireless N
because there's a coupon for it at costco making it only $699.

here is hp's website for high performance laptops
High performance Laptops & Mini Netbooks | HP Official Store

and here's its site for envy's
ENVY Laptops & Mini Netbooks | HP Official Store

also, is there any other technology that is coming out for laptops this summer or before the fall school starts? my parents want to make sure i'm buying til the big things are released because they don't want me to buy a laptop, and have something really good come out. i talked to the guy at best buy and he said that since windows 7 was released not too long ago, nothing is really going to change except for windows updates for windows 7 and that office 2010 will be released at the end of summer ish and that i wasn't missing anything if i bought a laptop now. i really want to buy a laptop anytime from today to the end of june just because that's when the new iphone software comes out and that's when i want to have everything be synced to my laptop. but if something big technology wise comes out then i can wait to buy my laptop til later this summer.
Post edited by blupowerade on
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Replies to: what's the best hp laptop to get for an engineering student?

  • user_007user_007 Posts: 366Registered User Member
    Costco one has only integrated Intel graphics, would suffice for most things but not great for any gaming or heavy CAD use, etc.

    The Pavilion has ATI graphics on some of them, Intel on one, and NVidia on the other, but with varying amounts...128 isn't very good, 512 is better but 1 gig is probably what you'd want.

    ENVY has 1 GB graphics...definitely a lot better.

    Processors are all pretty much the same...the Pavilion has an AMD, the other two are Intel...I prefer Intel but their specs are pretty close. The AMD only has 2MB L2 cache vs. 3 for both of the Intels...something to keep in mind but probably not huge for what you're looking at.

    I'd recommend a 15" because it's a lot easier to carry around. But a 17" would probably be nice if you don't plan on using an external monitor.

    Things don't change that much over the course of a few months.

    And don't buy any software like Office or anything without checking what your school offers, many offer it for free or at a very low cost.
  • aStyleaStyle Posts: 973Registered User Member
    yeah, you would need some sort of good graphics card for your engineering programs.

    And get the Intel processors. They are more expensive but have much better performance and battery life. (better investment) The AMD processors last only 1-2 hrs!!! And they generate more heat.
  • Senior0991Senior0991 Posts: 2,377Registered User Senior Member
    If you're going to be programming at all, even in matlab, a bigger screen is generally better. I don't know what 15 inches is like, but you'll want to be able to have two fully readable and functional screens open simultaneously. Or you could just buy an external monitor (which I'd recommend), especially if you're going to be taking notes on your laptop and such and what it to be light and portable.
  • blupoweradeblupowerade Posts: 256Registered User Junior Member
    Do you guys have any examples or links to external monitors I could buy? This would be my first laptop since I've always had desktops.

    Also @Senior0991 15" is the size of a regular keyboard with the number pad on the right squished and 17" is has the number pad not squished so it's basically the exact same size as a keyboard width wise.

    Do you guys recommend any HPs on BestBuy's website then or any from the HP site?
  • user_007user_007 Posts: 366Registered User Member
    Any monitor will work. For example:

    Acer X223WDbd 22" Widescreen LCD Monitor | Staples®

    If you use an external monitor, you'll probably use an external keyboard as well...in that case, you may use the laptop's keyboard less. I'd recommend an external keyboard regardless though...they're cheap and much more comfortable.
  • redfedora711redfedora711 Posts: 142Registered User Junior Member
    The newer AMD CPUs (45nm) have lasted me up to 3 hours depending on what I'm doing. It's an improvement, but it really depends on how much you're willing to spend in the end.
  • blupoweradeblupowerade Posts: 256Registered User Junior Member
    So I went to best buy today and the hp dv7 they had their didn't have a video graphics card and on my school's website for recommended laptops it says to have a video card. So the guys there told me to completely take out that laptop as a possible candidate. But then when I came home and went to hp's website I found their hp dv7-3180us

    HP Pavilion dv7-3180us Entertainment Notebook PC, Espresso Black | HP® Official Store

    here's my school's recommendations
    Computer Recommendations 2009-10 | Student PC Laptop | ITS

    do you guys think that one will be okay? The reviews I read from the hp site, amazon, and other sites I found from google seemed to be pretty good except for people complaining about battery. If you go to the hp website and look at accessories and more specifically batteries and look for the only one that supports hp dv7 the reviews on battery was super bad.

    HP 8-cell Battery (GA08) | HP® Official Store

    so i'm actually sort of confused with the whole battery part after reading the battery reviews especially since this would be my first laptop after always using desktops. Is that battery a battery I can attach to the laptop and use it without my laptop being plugged into the wall? A lot of the reviews said that their laptop battery for dv7 died after 1 year and that they had to buy a new one so when they say they had to buy a new one do they mean that one? Or do they mean a different battery for the inside of the laptop that they have to also pay someone to replace it? Sorry for all of the questions. I really want the laptop though since it looks so sleek n nice
  • user_007user_007 Posts: 366Registered User Member
    I don't know if you understand the graphics portion fully.

    You're probably never going to find a laptop with an external video card. Would be impractical, for one. The graphics are going to be integrated onto the motherboard.

    What you're looking for is a good video chipset.

    Based on those recommendations, you want 256 mb of dedicated video memory (minimum) or 512 ("high performance"). I'd definitely go with at least 512 if not more.

    The battery generally slides in a slot on the back of the laptop. The bigger the battery's capacity (in amp-hours or milliamp-hours), the longer it will last.

    Yes, the battery allows you to use the laptop without being attached to the wall. That's the purpose.

    The only battery inside the laptop would be a small button-cell battery to keep the clock correct. Desktops have these too, and they usually don't need replacement. Even if it were dead, you'd only notice the effects if you disconnected both the power cord and battery...and the consequences would only be an incorrect clock. Nothing you have to worry about.
  • blupoweradeblupowerade Posts: 256Registered User Junior Member
    Ohh ! Alright thanks so much! So would I be fine with that hp dv7-3180us since it says *
    Video graphics
    * Nvidia GeForce GT 230M with up to 2815MB total graphics memory with 1024MB dedicated

    the rest of the laptops specs fit the school's right? Cuz i was trying to go by both the laptop specs with the school's recommendation specs.

    So the reviews on the battery of that laptop dying only means that I would need to buy that $100 8 cell battery thing from the last post if I wanted to use the laptop without the power cord right? And you're saying that if my battery died and I didn't buy that $100 8cell battery that you put on the bottom then I could just always use my power cord for years to come and be fine right? I'm just trying to make sure if my battery does die like all those reviewers say that I know what to do. Sorry for the questions again. It also worries me sort of since the best buy guy said hp's have 50% failure rate in 3 years and toshiba has like 12%. but I just really like thi laptop
  • user_007user_007 Posts: 366Registered User Member
    The laptop comes with a battery (they all do). The specs say it's an 8 cell battery, the one you linked would be a replacement (or an extra, if you wanted to carry one around).

    When plugged in with the power cord, the battery charges and the computer is powered off the power cord. So no, you don't need the battery if it's plugged in.
  • silence_kitsilence_kit Posts: 1,826Registered User Senior Member
    you don't need a good graphics card. ee students don't use the 3D cad programs in their coursework. get a cheap & light laptop.
  • blupoweradeblupowerade Posts: 256Registered User Junior Member
    but when some people say that the laptop battery dies after a year then do they mean the battery that the laptop comes with dies and that's why they need to always have their power cord to use their laptop or that's why they need to buy that 8 cell battery replacement? sorry i dunno if i'm making sense
  • r31ncarnat3dr31ncarnat3d Posts: 452Registered User Member
    The battery life diminishes with use. It may last 10 hours the first year, 6 hours the next, etc. The actual rate of decrease depends on the battery and laptop used, but no battery keeps its longevity forever.

    Usually when people buy an 8-cell, they do it either for longer battery life than possible with the stock battery, or they stick it in a freezer and store it until their current battery's life reaches a point where it's no longer usable.

    I actually did that with my current laptop. I bought a spare battery for it, sucked all the air (and henceforth, the water) out of it as best as I can, and tossed it into the freezer.
  • blupoweradeblupowerade Posts: 256Registered User Junior Member
    wait why do you want to put the dead battery in the freezer? to try to reuse it again?
  • r31ncarnat3dr31ncarnat3d Posts: 452Registered User Member
    @Blupowerade:

    Sorry I wasn't more clear, that was my bad.

    I have two batteries. The first one is in my laptop, and the second one is at 10% charge in my freezer. The second battery is unused except for the first recharge/discharge cycle it had, and the reason I have a new battery in my freezer is because in storage, battery life decreases faster with higher temperatures and when stored at higher charge capacities.
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